The work that Malama Hule`ia and so many community volunteers have done to get rid of the invasive mangrove and replant native vegetation really shined bright yesterday as we gathered with Kauai’s DOE Hawaiian Studies Kupuna and a group of Kauai weavers including master weaver Margaret Lovett.
Malama Hule`ia shared about our efforts in removing the mangrove and what we’ve learned in the process of restoring the area. We all then learn the art of harvesting the prized weaving material, makaloa, one strand at a time.as well as how to prepare it for weaving. Not only is it a prized weaving material, it also serves as an excellent food source for the endangered koloa duck.
Malama Hule`ia director and Hawaiian Studies Kupuna, Sabra Kauka, explained that this is the first time there has been a stand of makoloa significant enough to harvest from here on Kauai in her lifetime.
While we were learning this traditional cultural practice the Department of Aquatic Resources (DAR) were working on perfecting their technique for monitoring fish use at this restored marshland site.
With the data they are collecting we will be able to quantify the impacts of our restoration project in improving the native fishery over the next few years. Having this kind of information should help to encourage and inform more of this type of community based ecosystem projects that revive traditional Hawaiian resources uses.